The London P&I Club has published an article on deck crane inspections and maintenance in its newsletter LP Focus, which looks in detail at particular claims issues prompted by the Club’s experience and feedback from Members.
Deck cranes are an important item of a ship’s equipment and when they break down this can result in loss of hire claims. Furthermore, failure of a deck crane can result in serious injury or death. Depending on the trade of the ship, the cranes may be used in every port or they may be used infrequently.
However frequently they are used, they require regular inspection and maintenance. It is when a problem occurs with a crane that the maintenance records come under scrutiny. It is therefore important that in addition to having a planned maintenance system and carrying out the maintenance, it is properly recorded.
Inspection and Maintenance
Routine inspection and maintenance of the cranes (and grabs, if fitted) should be carried out according to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and this should be incorporated into the ship’s planned maintenance system.
The wires for the cranes – those fitted and any spares – should each have a certificate and these should be kept with the cargo gear record book. Although not a requirement, the ship should maintain a record of the wires for each crane, listing the certificate for each wire and when the wires were fitted.
The majority of cranes onboard ship are of the electrohydraulic type. It is important that the hydraulic oil is maintained in good condition. In addition to regularly checking oil levels, filters should be regularly inspected. These often have indicators to show when they need cleaning and may have a magnet fitted, which should be inspected for any significant build-up of ferrous debris.
Brakes and safety devices
The brakes on the cranes should be regularly inspected and their condition recorded. Band brakes often have indicators to show the correct brake tension but linings should be checked to ensure they are of adequate thickness and are not contaminated with oil. Disk brakes are usually checked by measuring the clearance, and this should be recorded in the maintenance records.